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Five killed in apparent murder-suicide in Culpeper

Monday, Aug. 4 | By Mark Grandstaff | Google+
Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins answers question during a Monday morning press conference with local media and television stations from Richmond and Washington, D.C. - Photo by Wally Bunker
By Wally Bunker
Contributing Writer

Late Sunday night, Culpeper County sheriff’s deputies discovered five people dead – two adults and three juvenile girls – in an apparent domestic-related murder-suicide at a house in the 14000 block of Rixeyville Road.

Shauna and Clarence Washington, both 35, and their three daughters Onesha, 13, Onya, 6, and Olivia 4, were pronounced dead at the scene by Culpeper County paid paramedics, who responded to the home about 10 p.m.

The children were found dead in their bedrooms in the neatly kept three bedroom house. The adults were located in their bedroom, according to Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins. All died from gunshot wounds.

Detectives recovered a weapon in the house but declined to provide specifics about the gun.

“It points to murder-suicide,” said the sheriff. “There was a domestic problem as early as Saturday.”

The sheriff said his department had no records of deputies responding to that address in the past.

With the investigation continuing, including interviews with family and friends, sheriff’s detectives and Virginia State Police investigators have been collecting physical evidence.

The bodies were taken to Manassas, where the state medical examiner will perform autopsies.

Sheriff Jenkins said detectives learned that family members last had contact with Washington’s family about 5:20 p.m. Saturday.

About 8:40 p.m., Sunday, Diane Minor, the mother of Shauna Washington, called deputies asking them to check at the home on Rixeyville Road. [She had visited the home and was getting no response] The home is located just north of the intersection of Rixeyville Road and Eggbornsville Road.

Deputies noted a television was on but there was “nothing suspicious” and the “house was secure,” said Jenkins, during a press conference in front of his office. Deputies had no evidence to indicate anything was wrong inside and didn’t force entry to the house, he said.

About 10 p.m., Minor crawled through a window and made the grisly discovery and called the sheriff’s office.

Clarence Washington has worked full-time as a janitor at Sycamore Park Elementary School since 2008.

The youngest daughter, Olivia was not enrolled in Culpeper Public Schools, but Onya was a rising first-grader at Sycamore Park Elementary School this year and Onesha was going into the eighth grade.

His Village Church, along with other area churches, plans a candlelight vigil for the Washington family, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on the Culpeper Courthouse lawn. In the case of inclement weather, the vigil will be moved indoors to His Village church located at 128 W Culpeper St. Call 540-359-5554 for more information about the vigil or visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1477026069204345/.

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